September 23, 2021
‘Seo moltaí Shinn Féin don Bhille Teanga, cá bhfuil leasuithe an Aire?’ – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Cháin urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir de chuid Shinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, gur dhiúltaigh an tAire Stáit Gaeltachta, Jack Chambers, gníomhú de réir a bhriathar agus comhchomhairle a lorg le Teachtaí Dála an fhreasúra chun Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2021 a fheabhsú ar bhun tras-pháirtí.

. Tá 235 leasuithe ar an iomlán curtha isteach ar an mBille ag Teachtaí Dála de chuid Shinn Féin don Chéim seo, agus is féidir na leasuithe féin a léamh ag an nasc seo thíos.

Dúirt an Teachta Ó Snodaigh:

“Tá trua orainn nár thapaigh an Aire Chambers an deis labhairt i rith an tsamhraidh ar fad leis na páirtithe eile chun leasuithe a aontú agus stádas na teanga a dhaingniú mar a bhí á lorg againn go léir.

“Gheall an tAire go bpléifeadh sé a chuid leasuithe féin linn agus go ndéanfadh sé macnamh ar an méid a  bhí le rá againn ag Céim an Choiste níos luaithe i mbliana – is léir nach raibh sé dáiríre faoin ngeallúint sin.

“Tá roinnt ábhair ríthábhachtacha, ar nós seirbhísí poiblí sa Ghaeltacht agus cearta teanga, nach féidir le Teachtaí an fhreasúra mórán a dhéanamh fúthú toisc srianta atá ann sa Dáil nach ligeann ach don Aire costas a ghearradh ar an Stát, ach is cosúil gur cuma le’n Aire Chambers faoi chearta nó seirbhísí a fheabhsú.

“In ainneoin preas-ráitis uaidh ag maíomh go bhfuil 32 leasuithe roghnaithe aige bunaithe ar an brú a chuir muidne air ag Céim an Choiste – agus is maith an rud é go ndeachaigh an 26 uair a chloig de dhíospóireachtaí sa Choiste i gcion air – níl an foclaíocht foilsithe aige go fóill.

“Níl a fhios againn ach oiread cad atá i gceist aige leis na Caighdeáin Teanga nua atá chun teacht in áit sean-chóras na scéimeanna teanga.

“Labhair Coimisinéir Teanga na Breataine Bige linn sa Choiste inniu faoin tábhacht a bhaineann le soiléireacht ar na Caighdeáin, agus ba chóir dúinn ceachtanna a fhoghlaim ón deá-chleachtais idirnáisiúnta.

“Conas ar féidir linn leasuithe a mholadh gan fios againn faoi cad atá beartaithe ag an rialtas?

“Bhí orainn obair i bhfolús agus muid ag scríobh leasuithe, rud a chuireann am amú dúinne agus don Dáil sa díospóireacht, toisc nach raibh an meas ag an Aire orainn labhairt linn roimhré.

“Ba léir ón gCoiste nach dtuigeann an tAire Gaeltachta cé chomh mór i mbaol is atá an Ghaeilge mar theanga labhartha sa Ghaeltacht, agus tá gá le cur chuige dáiríre má tá muid ní hamháin chun í a choimeád beo ach fuinnimh agus beocht nua a chur inti arís. Níl ach Sinn Féin dáiríre faoi ath-Ghaelú na tíre sa Dáil agus sa Tionól ó Thuaidh.

“Ar a laghad, tá gach ábhar a bhí le n-aimsiú sa Choiste agus sa plé a bhí againn le heagraíochtaí, idir Chonradh na Gaeilge, Misneach, oifigigh pleanála teanga agus eagrais stáit, agus leis an bpobal i gcoitinne, clúdaithe sna leasuithe atá curtha isteach againn agus atá foilsithe agam inniu.

“Molfainn d’aon duine ata dúil acu i gcearta agus cur chun cinn na teanga na moltaí a léamh.”

ACHOIMRE:

Níl sa leagan foilsithe anseo ach dréacht dóibh siúd atá curtha againn chuid Oifig na mBillí, agus tá cinneadh le déanamh acu faoi cad a bheidh ceadaithe, ach san áireamh iontú tá:

  • spriocanna agus amchláir daingne chun feabhsúcháin a chur i gcríoch;
  • cosaint ar leith don síneadh fada in ainmneacha agus seoltaí ní hamháin i gcás comhlachtaí stáit agus i ghnó príobháideach freisin;
  • soláthar seirbhísí, ó chúram sláinte go Gardaí Síochána, a chinntiú trí Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht;
  • méadú céimithe ar líon na n-earcaithe le Gaeilge;
  • riachtanais teanga i leith seirbhísí bunúsacha bainc, fóntais agus cumarsáide;
  • cairt chearta teanga ar mhúnla Cheanada agus na Breataine Bige, lena n-áirítear ceart an Ghaeilge a úsáid san ionad oibre;
  • cumhachtaí breise don Choimisinéir Teanga;
  • píonóis fíneálach do chomhlachtaí a sháraíonn an dlí teanga;
  • polasaithe Gaeilge a lárnú sa chóras oideachais;
  • cothrom na Féinne do Ghaeilgeoirí sna cúirteanna agus san Oireachtas;
  • measúnú tionchar sochtheangeolaíoch i gcás forbairtí tithíochta sa Ghaeltacht;
  • dualgais i leith fógraíocht agus margaíocht chun tacú leis na meáin Gaeilge;
  • moltaí chun feiceálacht na Gaeilge a chur chun cinn ar síneacha tráchta, pacáistí sna siopaí, ar an teilifís agus ar an raidió;
  • ath-Ghaelú ar logainmneacha agus ainmneacha chomhlachtaí poiblí.

‘Here are our proposals to improve language law, where are the Minister’s?’ – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, today criticised the failure of Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers, to deliver on his promise to consult with opposition TDS to improve the Official Languages (Amendment) Bill 2021 on a cross-party basis.

Sinn Féin has tabled 235 amendments in total on the Bill at this stage, and these can be read at the link below.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:

“It is a shame that Minister Chambers did not take the opportunity at any point over the summer to speak with other parties to agree amendments and cement the status of the language as we had all wanted.

“The Minister promised to discuss his own amendments with us and to reflect on what we had to say – it is clear that this was an empty promise.

“There are issues of incredible importance, such as public services in the Gaeltacht and language rights, which opposition TDs can do little about due to Dáil rules which only allow the Minister to propose changes that could involve a cost to the state, but it appears Jack Chambers doesn’t care about language rights or improving services.

“Despite issuing a press-release making a great deal out of selecting 32 amendments based on pressure we exerted at Committee Stage – and it is good that the 26 hours of debate at Committee had some impact on him – we still have not been shown the wording.

“We also still do not know what will be involved in the new Language Standards that are set to replace the old system of language schemes.

“The Welsh Language Commissioner addressed us in the Committee today about the importance of clarity in Language Standards, and we must learn from international best practice.

“How can we be expected to make proposals without knowing what has been decided by government?

“We have been forced to write amendments in a vacuum, wasting both our own time and time for Dáil debate, because the Minister hadn’t the respect to show us his amendments in advance.

“It became clear at the Committee that the Gaeltacht Minister does not understand the degree of danger facing the Irish language as spoken language in the Gaeltacht, and a much more serious approach is required if we want not only to keep Irish alive but to reinvigorate it once more. Only Sinn Féin is serious about re-Gaelicising the nation, in the Dáil and in the Assembly.

“At least all the topics identified at Committee Stage and in our discussions with organisations, including Conradh na Gaeilge, Misneach, language planning officers and state agencies, as well as with the public, are covered in the amendments we have submitted and I have published today.

“I would encourage anyone with an interest in language rights and promotion to read these proposals (available in Irish only at present).”

SUMMARY:

Published here are drafts only, as submitted to the Bills Office, and they have yet to confirm which will be allowed or disallowed, but these include:

  • clear targets and timelines for implementing improvements,
  • protections for the síneadh fada in names and addresses, not only in relation to state bodies but for all private business as well,
  • the provision of services, from healthcare to Gardaí, through Irish in the Gaeltacht,
  • progressive increases for the recruitment of Irish speakers over time,
  • language requirements for essential services such as banking, utilities and communications,
  • a charter of language rights, based on the Canadian and Welsh models, including the right to use Irish in the workplace,
  • additional powers for the Language Commissioner,
  • financial penalties for bodies which breach language law,
  • putting Irish language policies at the heart of the education system,
  • equality for Irish speakers in the courts and Oireachtas,
  • sociolinguistic impact assessments in the case of housing developments in the Gaeltacht,
  • responsibilities relating to advertising and marketing to support Irish language media,
  • proposals to advance the visibility of Irish on traffic signs, packaging in shops, and on TV and radio,
  • re-Gaelicisation of placenames and the names of public bodies.

The summary of amendments is available to view at this link

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